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Curr Biol. 2012 Jul 10;22(13):1183-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.065. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

A local maximum in gibberellin levels regulates maize leaf growth by spatial control of cell division.

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Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, B-9052 Gent, Belgium.

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  • Curr Biol. 2012 Jul 10;22(13):1266.


Plant growth rate is largely determined by the transition between the successive phases of cell division and expansion. A key role for hormone signaling in determining this transition was inferred from genetic approaches and transcriptome analysis in the Arabidopsis root tip. We used the developmental gradient at the maize leaf base as a model to study this transition, because it allows a direct comparison between endogenous hormone concentrations and the transitions between dividing, expanding, and mature tissue. Concentrations of auxin and cytokinins are highest in dividing tissues, whereas bioactive gibberellins (GAs) show a peak at the transition zone between the division and expansion zone. Combined metabolic and transcriptomic profiling revealed that this GA maximum is established by GA biosynthesis in the division zone (DZ) and active GA catabolism at the onset of the expansion zone. Mutants defective in GA synthesis and signaling, and transgenic plants overproducing GAs, demonstrate that altering GA levels specifically affects the size of the DZ, resulting in proportional changes in organ growth rates. This work thereby provides a novel molecular mechanism for the regulation of the transition from cell division to expansion that controls organ growth and size.

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